SOPhiA 2021

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Reconceptualizing climate change responsibilities
(Ethics, )

A Even though global climate change is considered as one of the most dangerous threats humanity has ever faced, insufficient action has been undertaken to reduce climate change harms. Responsibility plays a crucial role in this context. I argue that the absence of an adequate understanding of climate change responsibilities has aggravated the inaction problem, and thus contributed to the current lack of both theoretical and implemented solutions. The concept of moral responsibility, for example - even though appropriate for paradigmatic harm cases - does not fit well for climate change because of its distinct features as a collective action problem (see also Jamieson 2015). Given the urgency of the climate problem, a concept is required that allows us to assign responsibilities to all agents and not solely to those who were at fault in the first place. My contribution in this paper is to begin to fill this gap by philosophically investigating the concept of remedial responsibility. Remedial responsibility is the responsibility to remedy a harmful or depriving state in the world. The concept of remedial responsibility has been mainly discussed in other contexts, such as by David Miller in the context of global poverty and migration. I argue in a first step that remedial responsibility's forward-looking feature does justice to the fact that climate change harms are a catastrophe that require immediate remediation (in terms of mitigation, adaptation and compensation). Furthermore - by being forward-looking - remedial responsibility can be assigned to numerous agents based on various justificatory reasons. In a second step, I suggest a taxonomy of remedial responsibilities in the context of climate change and present an overview on how the assignment of these responsibilities to various agents - such as nation states and individuals - can be justified.

Chair: Ada Smurzynska
Time: 11:20-11:50, 11 September 2021 (Saturday)
Location: SR 1.005
Remark: (Online Talk)

Kathrin von Allmen  
(University of Zürich, )

Testability and Meaning deco